ARMSTRONG, NEIL. (1930-2012). American astronaut remembered as the first person to walk on the moon and his historic statement made at the time: “One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Book Signed. (“Neil Armstrong”). 88pp. 4to. Wapakoneta. The 1947 Blume High School yearbook, “The Retrospect,” that belonged to one of his classmates in which Armstrong has signed beneath his senior picture on page 12. Armstrong’s photo depicts the graduating senior in 3/4 profile with a wry smile. Underneath his printed name his personal printed motto reads, “He thinks, he acts, ‘tis done,” followed by a list of clubs and activities, including band, orchestra, student council and junior class play.
The First Man on the Moon’s 1947 Wapakoneta Senior High School Yearbook!
Signed by Neil Armstrong
Armstrong transferred to Wapakoneta’s Blume High School in 1944 and, during that time, took flying lessons at the local airport where he earned his certificate at age 15. His aviation career began in earnest when he joined the Navy, flying during the Korean War. He became a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station (now the Dryden Flight Research Center) and joined NASA’s Astronaut Corps in 1962. In 1966, he became the first civilian astronaut to fly as a commander aboard Gemini 8.
On July 20, 1969, Armstrong led the Apollo 11 spacecraft on its historic mission to land the first humans on the moon. He and his colleague Buzz Aldrin both walked on the moon’s surface, while Michael Collins kept the spacecraft in lunar orbit. The event was broadcast on television around the world, making the astronauts celebrities and fulfilling the late President Kennedy’s goal of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth” before the end of the 1960s. As Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, he uttered the oft-quoted phrase that the event marked “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Upon their return, President Nixon awarded all three men the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Armstrong’s command of Apollo 11 was his last flight before he retired, returning to Ohio in order to teach Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, where, for nearly 10 years he carried a heavy teaching load while conducting research. Despite serving on several special government commissions on space exploration, Armstrong maintained a relatively low profile on his farm just outside his hometown of Wapakoneta.
Our yearbook prints seven photographs of Armstrong including two band photos, two school council photos, a yearbook staff photo, and a senior “Hi-Y” club photo. The yearbook’s former owner has annotated Armstrong’s entry with “divorced,” noting the astronaut’s divorce from his wife Janet in 1994. The book bears numerous other students’ signatures and annotations. Eight pages in the center of the book have separated from the binding, but are present. Spine and edges bumped. Light overall wear and in good condition. Rare!